As record stores stock fewer music CDs, the music industry is turning to videogames as an alternative method of distribution. Both Microsoft, developer of the Xbox 360 game console, and online game rental service GameFly introduced new music initiatives.

Microsoft has added downloadable music videos from Sony BMG to the Xbox Live Marketplace. Free promotional videos have been available on the platform since its Nov. 2005 launch, but the new iteration adds a pay-to-download option featuring a far greater catalog.

More than 40 Sony BMG videos are available now, featuring artists like Alice In Chains, Audioslave, Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters and more. Each video will cost 160 Microsoft Points (about $2).

Microsoft says this is merely the "first wave" of content, suggesting more videos from additional labels will appear at some point. The videos can't be transferred to Microsoft's Zune device, but company officials say that functionality is expected in the future.

Meanwhile, GameFly has begun giving away five digital downloaded tracks a month to members of the online game rental service. GameFly and partner Brandracket -- a music licensing and marketing agency -- will select the five songs. Anyone visiting the GameFly Web site will get one of the songs, while only subscribers can access the other four.

The featured tracks will be a mix of emerging and established artists. Among those available at launch are songs from RJD2, Thievery Corporation, Shadows Fall, OK Go and Little Brother.

GameFly is also adding artist bio, links to more artist information, and links to iTunes to buy additional tracks.

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